Like every other type of business, accounting firms big and small are being affected by the rapid pace of technological change. What can you do to ensure you keep ahead of the game, so your practice is future proof?
Gone are the days when small business owners hired the local accountant and simply left them to ‘get on with it’. Globalisation and technological progress have also seen a lot of work offshored and outsourced. That’s why keeping up-to-date with developments is just as important as dealing with the here and now.
You may find your clients are more tech savvy than you are. In which case you need to keep up with them, fast. If you don’t, somebody else will step into your shoes. Here’s some advice on how to get up-to-date.
Embrace cloud-based accounting solutions
According to Intuit research, 88% of small businesses in the UK expect their accountants to embrace cloud-based solutions, and 58% are willing to pay more if they do. Now here’s the strange thing - only 37% of accountants do so. This is a huge missed business opportunity.
Cloud accounting software, such as QuickBooks, has been transforming the way small businesses work for some time now. Let’s take a look at the advantages of cloud computing, and why you should follow suit.
You can work together more effectively with your clients. With one click, you can upload their files and data. Whenever and wherever you are. As you’re accessing their information direct, you immediately eliminate mistakes from the process. And if you see any problems, you can act quickly to resolve them.
You can stop worrying about security. Storing data and sharing it over the cloud is much safer than via email. The back-up processes are also far superior than on your PC. And, if your laptop gets stolen, you won’t lose your data as it’s all stored in the cloud.
There’s no need to keep installing updates. In the cloud, these updates and new features are added automatically. You can get on with your job as soon as you’re connected to the Internet and you have a subscription to your cloud accounting software.
You’ll be doing your bit for the environment. Working in the cloud means you save vast amounts of paper, not to mention physical space. Everything is filed in the cloud.
Develop the services you offer
One of the greatest advantages of cloud computing is the amount of time you save. Imagine how you can put that time to more effective use. Also, having access to real-time data via the cloud gives you valuable insight into the inner workings of your clients’ businesses.
This allows you to focus more on developing additional services and business advice for your clients. Of the small businesses surveyed for the report ‘The Changing Role of Accountancy’, 82% expected their accountants to be more proactive in developing value-added services. And nearly all were willing to pay more for it.
To take full advantage of these business opportunities, develop your firm’s ‘soft skills’. This can help you stand out from the crowd. Customers want to feel valued, and confident that they will get the service they need from you. If you give prompt replies, you’re willing to go the extra mile, and are able to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and simple way, this will help you build trust and set you apart.
The future is in the cloud
The key to making your accounting business future proof is to be proactive, rather than reactive. The advantages of cloud computing are there for you to embrace – boldly adopting new technologies is essential to surviving and thriving in this fast-changing world.
To find out how cloud accounting can help you future-proof your firm, sign up to QuickBooks Online Accountant for free.
We hope you’ve found this article useful. If you want to stay ahead of the game, QuickBooks cloud computing solutions will transform your client relations and help you future proof your business.